In an attempt to circumvent enmity toward genetically modified foods, Danish scientists are proposing what they claim is a precision breeding technique called “rewilding.” It is named rewilding because it mixes current genes from a plant with ancient genes of the same plant (old genes that were either lost or bred out somewhere along the way). The name sounds harmless, even restorative, and would likely be labelled non-GMO in the US because the genes are modified from the same plant. It could even be labelled “organic” if the introduced gene is determined not to be “foreign.” Like most genetic experiments, it is difficult to know the efficacy of this technique or if it ever will be successfully introduced. The outcome of the initiative notwithstanding, I find the name “rewilding” troubling. It reminds me of other similarly deceptive euphemisms, such as “tax relief” for millionaires. Who could be against “tax relief?” It sounds like a laxative, something we need to make it through the day. Rewilding is exactly what we need—but not through genetic breeding. We need to rewild by reconnecting with what is wild in Nature and within ourselves if we are to save humanity and many of the other species
Much of the mainstream American food supply is laden with unhealthy additives, artificial flavorings, coloring, dyes, preservatives, hormones, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and toxins. Not everyone agrees that GMOs have been proven harmful to humans, which is why the food chains listed here were selected specifically because they are responsible for a wide variety of health violations—the GMOs and their concealment from public knowledge are included for informational purposes As with all things, I urge you to read with your head on a swivel, adjusting your worldview based on new information. #1: ConAgra Foods ConAgra—whose brands include Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher, Slim Jim, Reddi-wip, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National, P. F. Chang’s, and Bertolli—labels many of their products under the confidence-inspiring statement of “made with all natural ingredients.” Their slogan, “Making the food you love,” is equally charming and disingenuous. Unless you contextualize them in a world of Orwellian doublespeak, these statements are the antithesis of truth. ConAgra was found guilty of “health code violations and bacterial contaminations at its food processing facilities, which have endangered consumers and in some cases been linked to deaths.” They’ve also concealed the use of GMOs in their products and practice unethical factory-farm sourcing.
After decades of poor results through the industrialized food system, it seems we are hearing about a homegrown revolution more and more. Indeed, growing one’s own food is a certain means of knowing exactly what is going into the many plants and animal products that go on the table. But there are many challenges that don’t make this simple task as easy as it may seem. Land, soil health, and seasonality all present challenges to the ideal of sowing the seeds of our supper with our own two hands. Thankfully there is a way to grow enzyme-rich raw vegetables right in the home kitchen without the need for soil or land. Some seeds, water, and simple equipment are all that is necessary. The Wonder of Sprouts Sprouts have long been touted for their many health benefits and for good reason. Rich in bioavailable nutrients, the young shoots of the seed add enzymes and all the benefits of raw food to your meals. What’s even better is that sprouts are quite simple to make. With some very basic equipment and a handful of seeds, a quart of sprouts can be prepared in the home kitchen within days. Choosing Salad Sprout Seeds
Since when do the mainstream news media, in a country that worships at the altar of capitalism and the free market, launch a coordinated attack against a company for selling a product consumers want? When that company dares to cross the powerful biotech industry. How else to explain the unprecedented negative coverage of Chipotle, merely because the successful restaurant chain will eliminate genetically modified foods (GMOs)? The biotech industry has a long history of discrediting scientists who challenge the safety of GMOs. That intimidation campaign worked well until consumers connected the dots betweenGMO foods (and the toxic chemicals used to grow them) and health concerns. Once consumers demanded labels on GMO foods, the biotech industry responded with a multimillion dollar public relations campaign. Yet despite spending millions to influence the media, and millions more to prevent laws requiring labels on products the industry claims are safe, Monsanto has lost the hearts and minds of consumers. The latest polls show that 93 percent of Americans support mandatory labeling of GMO foods. Chipotle has made a sound business decision, which has forced the biotech industry to stoop to a new low: vilifying businesses. Sadly, the mainstream media appear all too happy (manipulated?) to go along with the attack.
Growing your own organic food is extremely gratifying, but adding recycling to the mix is like winning the lottery two days in a row. When you mix the self-sustaining practice of growing your own food with the environmentally supporting habit of recycling, you are helping the world two-fold, and you get some tasty offerings in the process. Here are 5 ways to incorporate recycling into your gardening habit: 1. If you don’t use a clothesline – don’t throw away the lint from your dryer, either. Save the lint in an air-tight container and till it into your garden to help the soil retain moisture. 2. Recycle the fine print. After you read the newspaper, or junk mail printed on newspaper, shred it and put it in your compost bin. 3. Re–use fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps. Though you can just throw your kitchen scraps straight into the compost pile, you can also put them through a food processor, and use them around tomatoes, peppers, egg plants, pumpkins and more to feed growing plants. Peppers really love this trick, and you can expect bumper crops for feeding your plants so well. 4. Don’t throw the water away after you boil or steam vegetables.
I will be interviewing Mike Curtin, the CEO of DC Central Kitchen, a non profit, social enterprise, that runs a Culinary Training Program, and distributes food to MikeCurtain_headshotlocal shelters. Mike has expanded DC Central Kitchen’s revenue generating, social enterprise catering, to include locally sourced, cooking from scratch meals, at ten DC schools and Healthy Corners, which delivers fruits and vegetables to corner stores in DC’s food deserts. They employ over 150 people, with 40% from their own Culinary Training Program. Please join me on Thursday, and learn more about DC Central Kitchen and the great work that Mike is doing there. RECIPE: Dandelion Nori Rolls
How we have landed ourselves with a global food system that generates hunger alongside of obesity, and what can we do about it? The universal EXPO 2015 that opened in Milan on May 1 with the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is placing its bets on “best technologies” and “free trade” to do the job. The US Pavilion’s sponsors include technology vendors like Dow and 3M and proponents of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) like the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which is seeking to lower EU barriers to antibiotic-plumped U.S. products. But the problem really lies elsewhere: over the past three decades, public responsibility for food security has been sold out to markets and corporations while the frontline actors—families, communities and small-scale food producers—have been disempowered. Unprotected by governments, smallholder family farmers are being driven off their land and out of their markets with the allegation that they are inefficient and archaic. Yet, it is they who produce some 70% of the food consumed in the world. The same period has witnessed an astounding concentration of transnational agrifood corporations in global supply systems, thanks to favorable trade and investment rules adopted with the support of
Also known as retinal palmitate and retinol palmitate, vitamin A palmitate is one of the most commonly found of all the synthetic vitamin isolates. Virtually all the homogenized milk that children have drank for decades has been fortified with the additive vitamin A palmitate. “The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and New York Senator Chuck Schumer have called attention to the fact that high doses of topical retinyl palmitate were shown to accelerate cancer in lab animals …” (Source: Wikipedia) The first question anyone might ask is why is a synthetic vitamin isolate being put into so many food products, including milk, when it has been shown to accelerate cancer in animals undergoing laboratory tests? The debate about vitamin A palmitate has been raging in research institutions and university laboratories since it was first synthesized. Because it has been used in advertising for so long as a food and body product enhancer, revealing its downside health risks and adverse side effects would expose many a company to serious legal action and subsequent financial liability. “In virtually every study on vitamin A toxicity, it is isolated, synthetic supplements that are associated with adverse effects, not foods. Experimental animals and human subjects receive or are taking retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate,
We all know food at McDonald’s is virtually unfit for human consumption. Now, disturbing new lab results have reportedly demonstrated the true extent of the damage you are doing to your body when you eat fast food. Specifically, we’re talking about the ‘devastation’ of your gut health — the attack on the most important part of your biological immune response. In a report that really brings into focus just what’s going on when we throw a bunch of chemical additives together with some ‘meat-like substances,’ a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London used one unlucky college student (who also happened to be his son) to see what truly goes on in our stomachs when we chow down on some quarter-pounders. It goes way beyond just super sizing your pant size and clogging up your arteries. According to professor Tim Spector, whose research on the effects of McDonald’s food on the gut are published in his book The Diet Myth, something really unexpected happened. Speaking on what happened to his test subject (his college student son): “His gut bacteria were “devastated.” In just 10 days of consuming Big Macs, chicken nuggets, fries, and Coca-Cola, Spector’s son was found by laboratory fecal testing to lose nearly 1,400 types of bacteria species from
Researchers report that as the world population increases and food demand has grown, globalization of trade has made the food supply more sensitive to environmental and market fluctuations. This leads to greater chances of food crises, particularly in nations where land and water resources are scarce and therefore food security strongly relies on imports. The study assesses the food supply available to more than 140 nations (with populations greater than 1 million) and demonstrates that food security is becoming increasingly susceptible to perturbations in demographic growth, as humanity places increasing pressure on use of limited land and water resources. “In the past few decades there has been an intensification of international food trade and an increase in the number of countries that depend on food imports,” said Paolo D’Odorico, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and one of the study’s authors. “On average, about one-fourth of the food we eat is available to us through international trade. This globalization of food may contribute to the spread of the effects of local shocks in food production throughout the world.” D’Odorico’s paper is published this week in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Food security, D’Odorico said,